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British Airways has been running an Avios sale since the end of August but today is the last day to participate and to buy Avios with the best bonus British Airways generally offers. As usual, if you have no plans to travel with BA in the near future this shouldn’t be a sale you consider, for everyone else buying Avios in this sale could make a lot of sense.
The Sale’s Key Terms
- The offer is available until 23:59 (BST) Wednesday 30 September 2020 only (TODAY).
- During the Offer Period, Eligible Participants will receive 50% extra Avios (bonus Avios) when they purchase or gift Avios at ba.com.
- Avios can only be purchased at ba.com using the Purchase Avios Application Form found on the offer page.
- Eligible Participants may Gift Avios (purchase for someone else) during the promotional period, provided that the recipient holds a British Airways Executive Club account with at least one Avios point in their account.
- The Bonus Avios will not count towards your annual limit of 200,000 Avios.
- This offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other Purchase Avios offer.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the promotion page.
Important To Know
As always, the price you pay for Avios varies depending on where in the world your British Airways Executive Club account is based and US-based Executive Club members get a noticeably weaker deal than their UK-based counterparts – I’ll be addressing the cost for US-based and UK-based members below so you’ll see what I mean.
If You’re Based In The US
Although you’ll get the 50% bonus irrespective of how many or how few Avios you buy, the more Avios you buy the cheaper the cost/Avios figure becomes.
If you’d like to buy the full allowance of 200,000 Avios it will set you back $5,523 and will net you 300,000 Avios:
This works out to a cost of ~1.84 cents/Avios
If You’re Based In The UK
In the UK, just as in the US, the cost of buying Avios decreases the more Avios you buy and when you buy the maximum number of Avios allowed, it will set you back £3,215.
This works out to a cost/Avios of £0.0107/Avios or ~$0.0137/Avios
Should You Buy Avios In This Sale?
As usual, let’s get the formalities out of the way: If you don’t plan to use any Avios you buy in this sale in the near future you should not be participating – my golden rule applies.
Good, now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on…
A Key Reason This Sale May Be Useful
Right now the travel world is upside down and you only have to take a look at the multiple schedule changes that a lot of airlines are posting every week to see just how unpredictable future bookings are. If your plans change or if one or more flights in your itinerary get cancelled, what would you prefer to be owed by the airline? Avios + a cash co-pay or pure cash?
Personally, and with the exception of a couple of fantastic short-haul Business Class fares that I booked in the current flight sale (which also ends today), right now I’m making most of my British Airways bookings using Avios rather than handing over cash because I’d prefer to have the airline holding my Avios rather than my cash should I have to wait a period of time to get a refund or if I’m forced to take a voucher.
Having said that, please note two things:
- This applies more to short-haul flights (where the cash element of an Avios booking is usually relatively low) rather than long-haul flights (where the cash element of an Avios booking can be obnoxiously high).
- Buying all the Avios you need for booking (in this sale) just because you don’t want BA to be holding your cash should your plans change makes no sense as, effectively, the outcome is the same – BA has your cash either way. I’m suggesting that people who already have an Avios balance but who don’t have enough Avios to make the booking they have in mind, use this sale to top up their accounts (and book with Avios) rather than paying for their trip with cash only.
If you’re based in the US it’s critical that you have a plan for what you’ll do with any Avios that you may buy and are sure that any purchased Avios will be used to save you money on an otherwise expensive cash fare. Unless you genuinely need to boost your Avios balance now (and have a plan for how the Avios will be used) it may be prudent to wait for the next good Iberia sale in which Avios may be sold at a cheaper rate (Iberia sells Avios at the same rate to everyone so having a US-based account isn’t a disadvantage).
If you’re based in the UK this is probably just about as good a sale as you’ll find so this is a good time to top up your Avios balance if you’re running a little low and you have a near-term use for Avios.
On the whole, it’s not economical to use purchased Avios for long-haul Economy Class fares thanks to the high surcharges that accompany all BA Avios bookings, but if you’re looking to make a long-haul Premium Cabin booking (especially one paired with a BA 2-4-1 voucher) then there’s almost certainly value to be had here.
You could also consider buying Avios in the current sale and, assuming you have an active Iberia account, moving those Avios across to your Iberia Plus account and then using them to book select long-haul Iberia routes which incur notably lower surcharges than you’ll find BA charging.
Good value can often also be found on short-haul Avios bookings where the surcharges are low (e.g. Europe) or close to no existent (e.g. within the US, Australia, Asia, etc…), and Avios purchased in this sale may be able to save you quite a bit of money during peak periods (e.g. the European Summer) when cash rates can be disproportionately high.
The only way to know how good or bad this offer is for your particular circumstances is to decide on what you’d like to spend the Avios on, work out the cost of the award (including surcharges), and to then compare it to the cost of a cash fare for the same trip. For some, it may also be worth buying Avios to top up an account to a level at which they can afford to book their planned trip so they don’t have quite so much cash exposed to BA’s (often slow) refunds process.